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D.I.C.E.: Gas Powered's Chris Taylor Gives Command Performance

In a strikingly personal speech at this year's D.I.C.E. Summit, Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor (Total Annihilation, Dungeon Siege, Supreme Commander) led the audience through the shifting goals that have defined the past 19 years of his industry c
In a strikingly personal speech at this year's D.I.C.E. Summit, Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor led the audience through the shifting goals that have defined the past 19 years of his industry career. Taylor began at the genesis of his career, when he found inspiration at his local retail outlet: "I saw Sid Meier’s name on the box of Pirates! and Ron Gilbert’s on Monkey Island, I was like, 'That’s what I want to do. I want my name on the box, I don’t give a shit about anything else!'" "What I discovered in my 19 years," he continued, "is that anything you want in this business, you can make happen, and it’s all up in your head. You control everything that happens in your reality . . . that was profound for me." Bringing the talk up to date, he revealed, "For the first time in 19 years, I broke down and cried in my office in December. I was telling another man how I felt about this business, and I broke down, because it’s that challenging and it can do that to you." Taylor then mentioned that after going on to make Total Annihilation, and, yes, getting his name on the box, he founded Gas Powered, to "scale another cliff." After mortgaging his house to fund the company and putting over 5,000 hours of overtime onto the original Dungeon Siege, doing "what we thought we had to do to be successful at that game," Taylor admits, "I was completely wrong. I’m at an age where I’m completely capable of admitting that now." It was then, after Dungeon Siege shipped, that Taylor had his first child, and thought at the time, "I love this guy more than anything in the world, but I’m in this industry where I’m never going to see him, because I’m in this world where we say you have to stay until midnight. No, I have to change it! So I started to change it." Taylor decided, "I put my son and my family and my health first, work third. We put this on our walls at Gas Powered Games." "This is my secret today," he announced, "I didn’t know that the publishers would be okay with that. But believe it or not, I discovered that they were okay with it, because they needed this too." Admitting that over the past decade he'd "lost track" of the "genuine desire to build great games" in lieu of caring about making money, Taylor decided, "let’s get back to the love of the art. Let’s love our customers, let’s love our families, let’s love ourselves," adding, "if you don’t love the thing you’re making, nobody else will." After highlighting the tribulations in getting Supreme Commander developed and published, though still stressing that one of the game's engineers went from 1000 hours of overtime at his previous company to just 150 working with Gas Powered, Taylor concluded: "Health and family first. We work, and we go home to our families. It’s such a huge change for me. I’m really ready to continue to change with the industry now, and really go forward, and I hope I don’t have to break down into tears very often. "But that’s really it right there. When you get to that point where the business is just getting to be too much, just breathe in. think about getting that needle back to center. Love the art, love your customer, love your family and yourself, and it will all come together."

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